Picture of Katana Letter Opener
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I made this half scale Katana from steel, brass, paracord, and wood. I worked on it through out the course of two weeks with a cost of about $12 dollars. It's a Christmas gift for my son. I'm sure one day he'll use it to strike fear in his bills but for now it will be a cool display on his bookshelf. The blade is about 11" long. Overall length is 16".

It was the most fun I've had creating something. I'm the guy who has to read every plaque at every historical site. Throughout this build, while referencing several pictures and videos, I got to read something interesting about nearly every part of a Katana. It was also fun to pull metal working, wood working, and knot tying all into one project.  

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Step 1: Project planning

Picture of Project planning
How big is a Katana anyway? Apparently it varies by the height of the samurai. I knew I was going to use 1/2" flat bar so there was one dimension. With the help of ratios I figured out how long the blade should be if it's 1/2" wide. 

From there I got together some other materials. I wasn't sure what all I would end up using but I had this to start. 

Step 2: Setting the curve

Picture of Setting the curve
Again, using ratios from measurements off of photos, I figured how much of a curve the blade should have. I started by over-bending in a curve. Then, I progressively closed the jaws of my vise as I feed the bar through. When the bar hit a spot where it would not freely move through, I slightly straighten the curve. I did this until the curve matched a measurement I drew on a plank of wood.  

Step 3: Cutting the blade length

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After settling on a length of 16" I used a chisel to part the bar. I then rough sketched the tip of the blade and parted that off too. 

Step 4: Cutting the groove

Picture of Cutting the groove
I placed a ball diamond bit in my lathe and ran it up and down the blade. To refine the groove I rolled up sand paper and sanded it out.  
george173 months ago


dfenix4 months ago

That is seriously beautiful, well done!

Dakota Joel9811 months ago

"I'm sure one day he'll use it to strike fear in his bills but for now it will be a cool display on his bookshelf." Well said my friend. Great project and by far the coolest letter opener I have seen Lol.

Mrballeng (author)  Dakota Joel9811 months ago
rbookser1 year ago

This is a great project and write up! I always backed out of making swords because the steps would be too time consuming and the material and process costs would be high but this is a nice way to get into it in miniature and just learn the major steps and components.. A+

foobear1 year ago

Mr. Bling, you are the King!

Phiske1 year ago

Pretty cool! Great detail work.

Mr.Sanchez1 year ago
As I said before :" Your Kung Fu is waaaay better than mine . Ready in my to do List.Thnks for share.
tkline21 year ago
I agree. Dad of the year...
Would you post a link to that video please?
amekdala1 year ago
it looks amazing! good idea to do :)))
boris4001 year ago
Very nice, but I guess you didn't fancy forging one the traditional way. It would take forever:-)
Amazing, Your son is going to be ecstatic over this piece of Genuine Artistic Creation. What a replica! Can hardly tell the difference between a Picture of a Real Katana and this ... Actually what you have made here is a mimiture Katana ... it is so good and your skill level is extreamly high I consider this to be the real deal! Good Job!
Mrballeng (author)  instructables611 year ago
Thanks for all those nice words. I had a good time making it.
So AWESOME! And really well documented! Great work, AGAIN!
Mrballeng (author)  audreyobscura1 year ago
Thanks Ms.Obscura!
Coolest. Dad. Ever. :)
pojken1 year ago
Amazing! Your son will treasure it!
bedward31 year ago
Respect! Such craftsmanship you're sir
TP_inc1 year ago
The groove on swords is to let the blood run down it
lafnbear1 year ago
Amazing! Adopt me please?
bob30301 year ago
Very well made instructable. The sword is awesome. I'm sure your son will appreciate it. A gift made from the heart. Thanks for sharing with us. PS I won't let your son know before Christmas.
Very impressive. I saw a samurai sword letter opener at the department store in Epcot's Japan. It was about half the size of yours but cost about $150 if I remember correctly. Cool project!
TheGreatS1 year ago
Awesome, as usual.